Lessons Learned from Divorce

Lessons learned from divorce can have a positive impact on life. They can propel us in new directions, such as with careers or help us appreciate what we had taken for granted.

Divorce taught the importance of taking a break and getting out of one’s environment. My sons and I were allowed to go on an already scheduled cruise during my divorce. The other passengers were fabulous and shared their getting through adversity stories. Walking through the souk in Tunis put our divorce situation right out of our minds. Distraction helps alleviate stress.  Our batteries were recharged during this journey.

I discovered how important family is during a crisis like divorce. My cousin loaned me £15000 which I required immediately for part of a down payment on a house I was buying during my divorce. Without that act of kindness, I would have lost the opportunity to purchase it. My divorce split was coming later. I learned who not to count on for assistance.  My wealthy aunt refused the loan.

When I was enduring a bad marriage, I was focused on survival, not bits of joy. Consider thinking of several things a day for which you are thankful. This helps to not take kindnesses for granted. Or pay attention to what increases your happiness and plan these regularly into your schedule. Fun and laughter have health benefits and decrease my headaches. Meeting friends is a necessity and not an indulgence.  This actions help one get through the craziness of life.

One is vulnerable and is prone to put too much weight on other people’s opinions. When I first got divorced most things seemed monumental. I had to learn when to step back and when to charge ahead. I sometimes felt like I was in a fog and relied too much on others. When visitation deteriorated post-divorce, I listened to my mum and other well-meaning people about just letting it go on as scheduled. Instead of filing a motion with the court to suspend it, my younger son was particularly traumatized by going to visitation a year longer than necessary. He has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which may have been less had I heeded his demand not to go anymore. Neither son has contact with their father or his parents. The point is listen to your gut feeling and push for a resolution to a problem sooner than later.

Divorce can be a teacher to slow down.  Instead of reacting, take a pause from the situation to come up with a response.  Reactions are hot-headed and responding is taking in the facts and making an informed decision about what to do. One does not have to make quick decisions in a panic, but can say, “Let me get back to you.” This also applies to family members, work colleagues, or anyone who may try to enlist your time and energy when you are running on empty.

Going through a divorce has increased my social and professional networks. At first the pool of friends shrinks, but then expands as we meet new people. Moving house in divorce  taught me that I do not need so much stuff.  Many people I interviewed, said that possessions became less important and experiences more so. Post-divorce is an adventure with many twists and turns.